Common Causes Of Estrogen Dominance.
Estrogen dominance is a common problem for woman with thyroid disease. Estrogen is an important hormone that regulates your reproductive system. It plays an essential role in many body systems. Let me give you an example- Are you tired and run down? Could be your estrogen levels, feeling depression or anxious? Could be your estrogen levels, Gaining weight and retaining water? could be your estrogen levels, feeling bloated and constipated? it could be your estrogen levels, having hot flashes, tender breasts, nodules or lumps in your breasts? Experiencing joint pain, or diagnosed with Osteoporosis? it could be……. Estrogen.
As you can see Estrogen has a lot to do with a woman’s health and well being. But it is worth talking about a common hormonal problem experienced by the overwhelming majority of woman at some point in they lives, namely estrogen dominance.
Key Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance include:
- Weight gain, especially around the hips, tummy and thighs
- Brain fog
- Mood swings
- Severe PMS
- Slow metabolism
- Water retention
- Irregular periods
- Polycystic Ovaries (PCOS)
When Estrogen Levels Run Too High
Estrogen levels that are too high can cause problems to thyroid function. High estrogen can disrupt reproductive processes, cause unpleasant symptoms and increase your risk of certain conditions. Estrogen Dominance involves an imbalance in the ratios of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. It is a common problem affecting both women who are cycling and women in menopause and perimenopause. For Healthy Thyroid Function the proper balance of estrogen, testosterone and Progesterone are all critical factors.
Now wait just one minute……. Before you go out and take progesterone, you need to understand that it’s not that simple. Years ago many women in menopause rushed to take estrogen only to find out that the estrogen they were prescribed caused all sorts of health problems including cancer!
Estrogen Dominance can present itself in several different ways and testing is always recommended.
- Low Levels of estrogen on testing
- Low levels of progesterone on testing
- low levels of estrogen and low levels of progesterone.
The most common way Estrogen dominance shows up is with a progesterone deficiency. Estrogen dominance can cause a thyroid condition to develop, or can be a contributing factor. Elevated levels of Estrogen can cause and increase in Sex hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) as well as an increase in Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG). When these Binding proteins are elevated there is less thyroid hormones, estrogen, testosterone available to the body.
In the initial stages, your bloodwork may look normal but as the problem goes undetected, eventually low hormone levels begin to surface. This can also be the cause of many doctors overdosing you with bio-identical hormones. This is why testing and working with a doctor who understands this is so important. In either case, If you are looking to restore your health back to normal through a natural thyroid treatment protocol many of these hormones need some attention.
Let’s talk more about this Estrogen Dominance and how it creates havoc in the lives of cycling, peri menopausal and post menopausal woman.
How Estrogen Impacts Thyroid Health
One way that estrogen dominance impacts on thyroid health is by stopping the conversion of T4 into T3 thyroid hormone which leads to low T3 levels. This means that although there is not a direct issue with the thyroid gland, symptoms of hypothyroidism will be experienced. Too much estrogen can also block the uptake of thyroid hormones, once again leading to symptoms of hypothyroidism.
These symptoms often manifest most strongly during perimenopause, when progesterone levels are significantly decreased but estrogen is still present.
Estrogen Dominance Cause #1: Adrenal Glands, Cortisol and Prolonged Stress
Dealing with chronic stress on a regular basis (and not doing a good job of handling it) will stress out your adrenal glands. This in turn can decrease the amount of progesterone produced, which will cause a progesterone deficiency. This of course takes time to occur, but those people with poor stress handling skills who deal with chronic stress daily will inevitably develop adrenal gland problems, which over time will most likely lead to a progesterone deficiency.
Estrogen Dominance Cause #2: Birth Control Pills, Patches, Rings, IntraUterine Device (IUD).
Taking oral contraceptives prevents ovulation which stops the production of progesterone. As a result, a progesterone deficiency often develops, leading to estrogen dominance. One obvious solution to this is to stop taking oral contraceptives. For woman who are estrogen dominant who refuse to stop taking “The Pill” it can be a major uphill battle in correcting this hormonal imbalance.
For those women who remain on “the Pill”, taking natural progesterone can help with the progesterone deficiency, But it can’t offer a permanent solution. The bottom line is this, taking natural progesterone really isn’t going to fix your hormone imbalance. The ideal situation would be to stop taking oral contraceptives altogether.
Remember, For every cycle that goes by where you do not ovulate your body will not make adequate progesterone. If you don’t make progesterone, you continue to move towards a state of estrogen dominance. Why is this important? It’s now widely accpeted, that women who are Estrogen dominant are at greater risk of Cancer. National Cancer Institute
For Additional Information on The Pill Click on the links below.
- Nutritional Deficiencies Caused By Birth Control Pills- Learn more here
- Is Birth Control Pills and liver disease Learn more here
- The Pills Dirty Little Secret and how It disrupts Thyroid function. learn more here
Estrogen Dominance Cause #3: Xenohormones.
These days, men, women and children are being exposed to xenohormones. This exposure is becoming a major problem and a major concern when it comes to thyroid cancers. Xenohormones are found in the foods we eat, our plastics, the personal care products, the cosmetics we buy, pesticides and through many other household producs.
These xenohormones act as hormone disruptors, and can easily cause a hormone imbalance to occur. It is of course nearly impossible to completely eliminate your exposure to xenohormones, but chances are you can do a much better job of minimizing your exposure to them by eating organic foods, and purchasing natural personal care products and becoming a label reader.
Here are some of the chemicals that are xenoestrogens:
- 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) (sunscreen lotions)
- Parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben commonly used as a preservative)
- Benzophenone (sunscreen lotions)
- Industrial products and Plastics:
- Bisphenol A (monomer for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin; antioxidant in plasticizers)
- Phthalates (plasticizers)
- DEHP (plasticizer for PVC)
- Polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs) (flame retardants used in plastics, foams, building materials, electronics, furnishings, motor vehicles).
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
- Erythrosine / FD&C Red No. 3
- Phenosulfothiazine (a red dye)
- Butylated hydroxyanisole / BHA (food preservative)
- Building supplies:
- Pentachlorophenol (general biocide and wood preservative)
- Polychlorinated biphenyls / PCBs (in electrical oils, lubricants, adhesives, paints)
- Atrazine (weed killer)
- DDT (insecticide, banned)
- Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (one of the breakdown products of DDT)
- Dieldrin (insecticide)
- Endosulfan (insecticide)
- Heptachlor (insecticide)
- Lindane / hexachlorocyclohexane (insecticide, used to treat lice and scabies)
- Methoxychlor (insecticide)
- Nonylphenol and derivatives (industrial surfactants; emulsifiers for emulsion polymerization; laboratory detergents; pesticides)
- Propyl gallate
- Chlorine and chlorine by-products
- Ethinylestradiol (combined oral contraceptive pill)
- Metalloestrogens (a class of inorganic xenoestrogens)
- Alkylphenol (surfactant used in cleaning detergents
Becoming knowledgeable about xenohormones is of course important step in minimizing exposure.
Take home points About Estrogen Dominance and The Thyroid
- Estrogen dominance is a common condition effecting woman of ALL ages.
- The Thyroid is very sensitive to Estrogen dominance.
- Medications can Cause Estrogen Dominance- Birth control pills, Patches, Hormone IUDs are just one example.
- Estrogen Dominance can effect your Thyroid even though you TSH is normal
- Functional Medicine takes a personal approach to correcting estrogen dominance
- Correcting the cause of thyroid disease requires more than just taking thyroid hormones
Other Popular Articels by Dr Hagmeyer
- Why taking Testosterone Could Make you Worse. Dr. Richard Hagmeyer.Naperville Institute For Neuro Metabolic Solutions
- Natural Progesterone Thyroid Health and Hashimoto’s?
- Natural Thyroid Treatments| Why You Must Avoid Soy| Dr Hagmeyer NeuroMetabolic Solutions
- The Causes Behind Poor Thyroid Conversion. Dr Richard Hagmeyer